#newwinethisweek Week 24 – Assyrtiko, Greece
Greek wine has suffered over the years and is often described as a holiday wine that doesn’t travel tastes dreadful at home. If you’ve been stung by the harsh pine-resin of Retsina (although I did taste a very good modern version recently!) or you think all Greece has to offer is Ouzo or Metaxa, then think again.
In recent times the quality of Greek wine has improved in giant steps. Although the country is starting to plant many of the international grape varieties (check out the Chardonnay and Viognier from Domaine Gerovassiliou), there are a few homegrown superstars worth checking out. One of them is Assyrtiko, this week’s #newwinethisweek.
Assyrtiko is a white grape that is indigenous to the island of Santorini but is also planted in many other Greek wine-growing regions. It is usually planted on arid volcanic-ash-rich soil and some of the vines are over 70 years of age. In the past Assyrtiko was often used as a blending grape (it is often found in Retsina) but it takes centre stage far more often these days.
Assyrtiko wines are usually bone dry with good citrus fruit, high acidity and a mineral edge; some wine writers have likened the flavour to Riesling. I’ve had a couple of thee wines in the past 12 months and have been pleasantly surprised but I’m looking forward to paying a lot more attention this week.
These Greek wines are becoming much more widely available in the UK these days so get yourself a bottle and explore what Greece has to offer the wine world:
And don’t forget to tell us what you think!